Posts filed under ‘Media – General’

Statement from the American Society of News Editors Regarding the Detention and Harassment of Journalists in Ferguson, MO

ASNE Logo

        (Image via ASNE.org)


As an organization whose core mission includes protecting freedom of the press, the American Society of News Editors is especially disturbed by the events taking place this week in Ferguson, Missouri. From police physically assaulting citizens engaged in peaceful protest to arresting without cause reporters from The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, it is clear that there is a concerted, top-down effort to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press.

 

As an organization whose core mission includes protecting freedom of the press, the American Society of News Editors is especially disturbed by the events taking place this week in Ferguson, Missouri. From police physically assaulting citizens engaged in peaceful protest to arresting without cause reporters from The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, it is clear that there is a concerted, top-down effort to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press.

 

“From the beginning of this situation, the police have made conscious decisions to restrict information and images coming from Ferguson,” said ASNE President David Boardman. “Of course, these efforts largely have been unsuccessful, as the nation and the world are still seeing for themselves the heinous actions of the police. For every reporter they arrest, every image they block, every citizen they censor, another will still write, photograph and speak.”

 

ASNE acknowledges that there has been illegal violence and looting by some members of the public and that law enforcement must respond appropriately. But we remind the police and the nation that speaking out in protest is not a crime, reporting on that protest is not a crime and taking photographs of it is not a crime. Violating the civil rights of citizens by restricting these activities is a crime. We further call on the U.S. Department of Justice to take any and all appropriate action to protect the First Amendment rights of everyone involved.

 

More…

 

August 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM Leave a comment

The American Military Industrial Complex is Smiling Tonight!

I read something a few weeks back about how ISIS in Iraq has commandeered a huge amount of military equipment we paid for with Our Tax Dollars during the 2013 invasion. The supposed “training” of the Iraqi army George W. and Co. said they were doing was a farce and when ISIS emerged, the so-called army cut and ran, leaving billions of dollars of weapons (like humvees at $200,000 a pop) lying around. So now we’re bombing Iraq again and the the billions of dollars of military equipment we paid for are being blowing up by the people we paid to build them in the first place.

Aye yie yie.  I’m sure the military industrial complex is drinking up a storm tonight but I’m SMFDH.  Our tax dollars down the shit hole, again:

Humvee via wikipedia

(Image via Wikimedia)

When President Obama announced US airstrikes in Iraq, most observers understood that the US would be bombing members of ISIS. What many did not know was that, in a twist of such bitterly symbolic irony that it could only occur in the Middle East, the US would also be bombing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American military equipment.

Here’s why: in the decade since the 2003 US-led Iraq invasion, the US has spent a fortune training and arming the Iraqi army in the hopes of readying it to secure the country once America left. That meant arming the Iraqi army with high-tech and extremely expensive American-made guns, tanks, jeeps, artillery, and more.

But the Iraqi army has been largely a failure. When ISIS invaded northern Iraq from Syria in June, the Iraqi forces deserted or retreated en masse. Many of them abandoned their American equipment. ISIS scooped it up themselves and are now using it to rampage across Iraq, seizing whole cities, terrorizing minorities, and finally pushing into even once-secure Kurdish territory. All with shiny American military equipment.

So the US air strikes against ISIS are in part to destroy US military equipment, such as the artillery ISIS has been using against Kurdish forces.

More…

If it weren’t for the military equipment the U.S. walked away from, ISIS wouldn’t be near as powerful and we might not be re-inserting ourselves into that country 11 years after I stood on the protest line doing what I could to stop it because I knew it would be a disaster.  But, voila, here we are.

That said, guess who’s on the corporate media? The people who want to make more war.

Geezus.

 

 

 

August 8, 2014 at 6:19 PM Leave a comment

Malcolm X Was Right About This

We weren’t careful.

Malcom X re Newspapers

(Image via OccupyPhotoJour on Twitter)

July 24, 2014 at 1:54 PM Leave a comment

What Does the Word “News” Mean These Days Anyway?

Heritage Foundation Logo

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative so-called think tank (as in the American Taliban). Check out this flash from Politico’s Dylan Byers about its new venture:

The Heritage Foundation, a powerful right-wing think tank, is planning to launch a new news service that will cater to a conservative audience, sources familiar with the organization’s plans told POLITICO on Wednesday.

Heritage will officially announce the project on Thursday in an embargoed report by Bloomberg News, the sources said.

More…

I’m thinking this “new news service” should be in quotes because the Heritage Foundation’s “new news service” won’t be a “new news service” at all.  It will be a well-funded propaganda bomb.  So yo, Dylan, think about practicing journalism if you call yourself a journalist.

 

May 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM Leave a comment

The Heart of What Ails Us

My Tweet of the Day is a big yep.  It’s complicated of course but in a nutshell, this is where we are:

Tweet of the Day 5-6-14

May 6, 2014 at 6:47 PM Leave a comment

About the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

White House Correspondents Associaation

I watched a bit of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on C-SPAN Saturday night…a parade of journalists corporate and governmental liaisons feting themselves.

New York Times Magazine National Correspondent Mark Leibovich, author of “This Town,” on Sunday called the White House Correspondents’ Dinner an “abomination.”

“I think that it’s morphed into this extravaganza of more than two dozen pre-parties and after parties, and we have to ask ourselves, what are we celebrating exactly?” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

[...]

“This is a classic case of the bubble world and the unselfawareness of spending however millions of dollars over a number of days to celebrate ourselves and again I ask, why?” he said.

More…

Exactly.

And then there’s Frank Rich:

Rich said that the event is “a crystallization of the press’s failures in the post-9/11 era” because it “illustrates how easily a propaganda-driven White House can enlist the Washington news media in its shows.”

More…

Amen.

Read the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.  Journalists are to maintain distance from those they cover.  They should “refuse gifts, favors, fees and special treatment” that “may compromise their integrity or damage [their] integrity.”

May 5, 2014 at 8:01 AM Leave a comment

Eleven Years Ago: Remembering How Insane We Were on “Mission Accomplished” Day

Remember this?

Mission Accomplished

That was eleven years ago today.

Greg Mitchell wrote an e-book about media coverage in the run-up to and the early months of the Iraq war.  Today he reminds us of how the corporate media reported Bush’s trip out to that aircraft carrier on that day eleven years ago.  It illustrates how deeply broken our media is.  Everyone quoted here should have been fired for violating the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics:

Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a “hero” and boomed, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.” He added: “Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple.”

PBS’ Gwen Ifill said Bush was “part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan.” On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, “The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a—on a carrier landing.”

Bob Schieffer on CBS said: “As far as I’m concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.” His guest, Joe Klein, responded: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me.”

[...]

Maureen Dowd in her column declared: “Out bounded the cocky, rule-breaking, daredevil flyboy, a man navigating the Highway to the Danger Zone, out along the edges where he was born to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity.

“He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics.”

[...]

When Bush’s jet landed on the aircraft carrier, American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded.

More…

U.S. casualties as of today?  4489.  Wounded?  30,021.

 

 

May 1, 2014 at 9:27 AM Leave a comment

Listen to Us Damnit! Huge We the People Rallies Today in Spain and Chile

People acted up against austerity today (i.e., giving money to banks and starving We the People) in Spain and Chile.  Don’t expect to see coverage of these events on your local TV (they don’t want to give us any ideas).

 

Anti-Austerity Protesters Join Forces in Spanish Capital

3-22-14 Dignity March Spain via revolution-News.com

(Image via Revolution-News.com)

Tens of thousands of protesters from across Spain converged in Madrid on Saturday calling for an end to EU-imposed austerity which has deepened poverty amongst the worst-off.

The so-called “Dignity Marches” brought tens of thousands to the capital, Reuters witnesses calculated, in support of more than 160 different causes – employment, housing, health and education and an end to poverty amongst them.

Banners urged the conservative government not to pay its international debts and to tackle unemployment of 26 percent.

More…

——————————————————–

Chileans Rally to Demand Promised Reforms

Tens of thousands of protesters have marched in Chile to press Michelle Bachelet to follow through on ambitious reforms she pledged before assuming the presidency less than two weeks ago.

The protest on Saturday in central Santiago, dubbed “the march of all marches”, was the first of Bachelet’s new term and the biggest political demonstration since huge student protests in 2011.

Organisers said at least 100,000 people were present, even without core groups of student protesters active in the past. Those activists said they would not take part because they were working with Bachelet on education reforms soon be sent to Congress.

The march underscored lingering frustrations in Chile, which has one of the region’s widest inequality gaps. It also raised expectations following four years of rule by the unpopular Sebastian Pinera.

Protesters said the march was a warning sign they would not go easy on Bachelet.

“This is not a protest against Bachelet or for her, it’s just an alert for the political class so they know people have demands,” said Oscar Rementeria, a spokesman for gay rights group, Movilh.

The 40 activist groups that helped fill the streets supported causes ranging from environmental protection to gay and indigenous rights.

More…

If anyone sees any coverage of this in the U.S. media, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

March 22, 2014 at 8:05 PM Leave a comment

Politico’s Mike Allen Gets His “Conventional Wisdom” From Republicans

You know Politico’s Mike Allen.

Mike Allen via Politico

(Image via Politico.com)

He’s one of those Very Serious People who’s on television all the time talking about the “conventional wisdom” in Washington.  This is the first sentence of his post today over at “Politico’s Playbook: Mike Allen’s Must-Read Briefing on What’s Driving the Day in Washington:”

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SHIFT: For the first time, top Republicans tell us there is a better than 50 percent chance that they’ll take the Senate.

I’ve been wondering where all the certainty about Republicans taking the Senate in November is coming from and now I know, it’s coming from ah, Republicans!

Oh, and and just in case that sentence somehow changes (wink, wink) here’s a screenshot:

Mike Allen Republicans Say...

 

 

March 20, 2014 at 9:10 AM Leave a comment

About the Republicans’ Chicken Shit Use of the Words “Resolve” and “Leadership”

John McCain via Donkeyhotey on flickr

(Image:  Donkey Hotey on flickr)

The next time you hear the likes of John McCain or his sidekick Lindsey Graham accuse Obama of a lack of “leadership” or “resolve” in all things foreign policy, remember, when they use those words, they’re counting on us presuming they have detailed, deeply considered plans of their own.

Chances are good they don’t:

The Cliches of “Leadership” and “Resolve”

It’s true that hawks typically assume that real “leadership” requires the use of force or at least the threat to use force, but it can also function as a generic euphemism for U.S. hegemony. In this usage, there is really only one kind of international leadership that qualifies, and this is one in which the U.S. is dominant, preeminent, and preoccupied with policing the globe. This tends to view leadership more as an exercise in giving orders and dictating terms.

[...]

As with its ugly cousin “resolve,” one can always get away with insisting that a particular president isn’t showing enough “leadership” in the world, because there is no way to measure these things and no way for the complaint be remedied. Because it is so ill-defined and frequently abused, it can be applied to every issue without even having to think about the specific details. “Leadership” is always the correct response, and “leadership” can’t fail, because it means everything and nothing at the same time.

More…

Too bad the “liberal media” doesn’t press them by asking, and following up on one simple question:  “What would you do?”

March 4, 2014 at 1:54 PM 3 comments

What Would You Do?

 

Check out this February 28 tweet from Sara Hussein and the understatement of the week, i.e., that the Agence France Presse (AFP) photographer, Ahmed Gharabli, “somehow manages to keep snapping.”

Terrifying.

Tweet 3-2-14

 

 

March 2, 2014 at 11:05 AM Leave a comment

Obama’s Laughable Faux Concern About Freedom of the Press in Venezuela

This is a tweet from the U.S. National Security Council, you know, the folks who are spying on everyone in the world (literally0:

National Security Council Tweet re Press freedom in Venezuela

Hahahahahahaha.

Did you see this:  Thanks Obama!  U.S. 46th in Press Freedom and Dropping Like a Stone.

The United States isn’t the beacon on the hill anymore when it comes to freedom of the press.  As a matter of fact, it’s deviated so much from that standard that it’s paved the way for countries around the world to clamp down on the freedom of speech and the press everywhere.  Not long ago (six, ten years), countries feared the U.S.’s wrath if they strayed too far afield.  Not anymore.

Per Reporters Without Borders, press freedoms are ranked below:

Finland (#1)

New Zealand (#9)

Germany (#14)

Canada (#18)

Slovakia (#20)

Namibia (#22)

Cape Verde (#24)

Ghana (#27)

United Kingdom (#33)

Spain (#35)

France (#39)

Botswana (#41)

Papua New Guinea (#44)

The United States ranks #46 in the world.  Go here for more.

So that NSA tweet above?  Laughable.

 

With POTUS 44, there’s nothing more galling than his shattered promises to make his the most transparent presidency in history, to cherish the public service offered by whistleblowers and to enshrine the American ideal of a free and unfettered press. It was all a lie, and now the people who compile the World Press Freedom Index have made it official: Our 1st Amendment rights are only a monument to American exceptionalism if you mean that we’re barely more exceptional than Haiti:
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Thanks-Obama-US-46th-in-press-freedom-and-dropping-like-a-stone.html#mK741i5GADXTIe5M.99

February 24, 2014 at 9:07 PM Leave a comment

Colorado’s Beer-Brewer Governor Warns About Marijuana

John Hickenlooper via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

When the media writes about Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (we call him Howdy Doody here in Colorado) objecting to Colorado voters legalizing marijuana, it should be ah, kind of relevant (to say the least) to note that Howdy Doody is a freaking beer magnate and of course he doesn’t want marijuana to take hold:

John Hickenlooper Warns Govs on Pot Legalization

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper urged fellow governors Saturday to be cautious about following his state’s lead in embracing marijuana.

The Democrat worries other states will legalize pot so that they can tax it and fill budget shortfalls.

“The jury is still out on this thing,” he said in between meetings at the National Governors Association in Washington . “It’s going to be one of the great social experiments of the 21st century. As we implement it, we want to make sure that our society is no worse off than it was before this was passed. If we were legalizing whiskey, I’d be doing the same thing.”
Gee.  We want to “make sure that our society is no worse off than it was before this was passed?”  Let’s talk Doody about the consequences of imbibing in general, including on alcohol.
And then there’s this gem:
[...]
“It’s like promoting gambling,” he said. “It always makes you nervous when you see government promoting gambling or any of those sin trades. They are revenue sources. … We know people are not going to be better off smoking pot. It doesn’t mean they should be arrested … but we know it doesn’t make you smarter.”
What?  Get me to that rum and coke.  I didn’t know alcohol makes you smarter!

 

 

February 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM Leave a comment

What is “Hispanic-Style” Cheese?

Hispanic Cheese

One of the images I got when I Googled “Hispanic cheese”

Yet another so-called “news” item that doesn’t tell readers anything:

One Dead, Seven Sickened in Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cheese

One person has died and three newborns have become ill in an outbreak of listeria linked to Hispanic-style cheese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the death occurred in California. Seven additional illnesses were reported in Maryland.

All of the Maryland victims reported eating soft or semi-soft Hispanic-style cheese that they purchased at different locations of the same grocery store chain. Listeria was later detected in a sample of Caujada en Terron, or fresh cheese curd, purchased at that chain.

The CDC says three of the victims are newborns. Two of those ill are mothers of two of the ill newborns.

More…

This is a case of rushing to publish so-called breaking news before the facts are known.  Or maybe it’s a case of not caring about facts.

Questions:

What is “Hispanic-style cheese?”  Could ya’ll narrow that down a bit?

Expiration dates and production codes would be greatly appreciated.

Is “Caujada en Terron” a brand of cheese or a type of cheese?

Aye yie yie.  When oh when will we get a better media?

 

February 21, 2014 at 7:40 PM 1 comment

The Problem with the Corporate Media in 26 Seconds

Yesterday MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell interrupted a discussion about ending the NSA surveillance program for “breaking news” coverage of Justin Bieber’s bond hearing in Florida:

Priorities.

January 24, 2014 at 10:22 AM Leave a comment

I Feel Sorry for the Elephant and the Shitty Reporter

Check out this story from MassLive.com:

African Elephants via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia.com)

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts zoo is monitoring the health of one of its elephants closely after it was exposed to extreme cold during last week’s snowstorm.

Officials at Buttonwood Zoo in New Bedford say Ruth, a 55-year-old Asian elephant, escaped from her heated barn sometime between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Friday at the height of the storm with temperatures around zero. Someone forgot to padlock the door.

Zoo Director Keith Lovett tells The Standard-Times (http://bit.ly/1lyUI9n ) she was brought inside as soon as staff noticed and warmed with hot blankets and heaters.

The elephant is on antibiotics as a precaution and is being monitored for hypothermia and frost bite by a vet. Lovett says the effects of extreme cold can sometimes show up days later, but so far Ruth seems fine.

A couple things:  One, what’s with zoo employees forgetting to padlock the door to an elephant enclosure?  Yeah, everyone makes mistakes but that’s a big one.  Two, notice how there’s nothing in this story, originally from the Associated Press, that tells us how long the elephant was outside?  It’s datelined today so four days have gone by since the elephant left her heated barn “between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Friday.”  Was she outside from then until today?  We have no idea.

Seems to me the amount of time the poor elephant spent outside is ah, hello, of interest here.

Duh.

Sloppy beyond belief.

 

January 7, 2014 at 7:26 PM Leave a comment

We’re Romanticizing Oil Spills? Really?

This, from the Daily Mail.

The most destructive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ever, after which people and animals are still suffering is mesmerizingly beautiful?

Really?  Is that where we are?  Is that what we’ve become?  People who see beauty in oil spills?

The Deadly Beauty 12-15-13

December 15, 2013 at 9:12 PM 3 comments

Guy Who’s on TV a Lot: Elites Are Smarter Than the “Average Person”

Ah yes, my Tweet of the Day, from Josh Barro, the politics editor at BusinessInsider.com.  This is the thinking of a guy who’s on the tube a lot, telling We the Little People how our economy should work:

Josh Barro via Josh Barro on Twitter

(Image via Josh Barro on Twitter)

There is so much wrong with this:

Tweet of the Day 12-4-13

December 4, 2013 at 2:05 PM Leave a comment

Did You Know China is Sending a Rover to the Moon?

The Moon via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Me neither.  Here’s a short blurb from November 30 from ScienceMag.org.  It requires a subscription so this is all I can grab but amazing isn’t it, that we didn’t hear a peep about this in the U.S. corporate liberal media?  They were too busy tracking Obama’s “plunging” poll numbers and the supposed demise of Obamacare I guess.

Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang’e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China’s quest to send a crewed mission to the moon by 2030. Its premier scientific instrument is a wide-angle extreme ultraviolet camera that will continuously observe Earth’s plasmasphere and the tail of comet ISON.

Oh, and for the most part, we just don’t do science around here.

UPDATED:  Here’s more:

For the first time in more than three decades, the moon may soon see some soft-landing, human-made visitors. China launched its first moon rover—and third moon mission—at 1:30 am today, local time.

The Chinese rover should land December 14 or 15, Space.com reports. The last soft lander to visit the moon’s surface was a Russian craft in 1976. The last people on the moon were Americans, in 1972. Since then, space agencies have sent instruments purposefully crashing onto the moon’s surface, but nothing designed to remain intact after landing, which is more difficult to do.

More…

December 2, 2013 at 10:40 AM 1 comment

Glenn Greenwald Educates BBC “Journalist” On What it Means to be a Journalist

Glenn Greenwald is such a stud:

November 28, 2013 at 8:54 PM 4 comments

You Won’t Hear a Thing About This From the “Liberal Media” Today

ACA

The “liberal media” has adopted the Republican spin that repealing the Affordable Care Act is popular.  Problem is, if the “liberal media” dug just a wee bit below the surface of the latest poll, they’d find that a lot of people oppose it because it doesn’t go far enough.  But no.  They’re too lazy and too afraid of being accused of having a “liberal bias.”  So you can be sure you won’t hear a peep about this today (or tomorrow, or ever):

This has always been the inconvenient detail for the right. Conservatives look at the top-line poll results and say, “See? 58% of Americans oppose ‘Obamacare.’ Therefore, Democrats should listen to Republicans and gut the law.”
 
But it’s the nuances of Americans’ attitudes that matter. In this CNN poll, 40% of the public backs the Affordable Care Act and another 14% want the law to go even further and be more ambitious.
 
In other words, as the CNN analysis explained, 54% of the country either supports Obamacare, or say it’s not liberal enough.
 
More…

 

November 27, 2013 at 12:08 PM Leave a comment

New Crisis: A Shortage of Doctors — Intentionally Created by Ah, Doctors

Medical Doctor via Wikipedia.org

A few days ago I read an article in my local newspaper, which I can’t find on its website now but which read something like this, from the New York Post:

Good luck finding a doctor under ObamaCare.

New York and most other states already face a shortage of physicians and won’t have enough primary-care MDs to serve the millions of newly insured patients, data reviewed by The Post reveal.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah admitted the shortage presents a “potential for a real crisis” in medically underserved areas when the Affordable Care Act kicks in.

More…

Then, out of the blue, I came across this today:

The United States pays roughly twice as much for its doctors as people in other wealthy countries. The reason is that physicians in the United States use their political power to limit the supply of doctors both by restricted med school enrollments and excluding foreign trained physicians. (Yes, 25 percent of U.S. physicians are foreign-trained. Without protectionist measures that number could be more than 50 percent — just like with farm workers.) As a result of this protectionism almost one-third of doctors are in the richest one percent of the income distribution and the overwhelming majority are in the top 3 percent.

More…

Too bad the guy who wrote the article for the Post didn’t take the time to actually do his job as an alleged journalist and ah, dig into the facts a bit more.  The issue is much more complicated than he led us to believe.

Oy.

November 21, 2013 at 7:53 PM Leave a comment

Oh No, That Guy Wore The Same Suit Last Month!

Tell me if you think we’d ever see an article like this about a guy.  Or, this is how sexist and petty the D.C. media is:

Somebody Spot Janet Yellen Some New Threads

Whether Janet Yellen, President Barack Obama’s latest pick to head the Federal Reserve, proves to be the financial genius our sputtering economy so desperately needs, remains to be seen.

At least we know her mind won’t be preoccupied with haute couture.

Here’s the black-on-black ensemble she sported last month when President Barack Obama officially nominated her:

Janet Yellen via JewelSamad:AFP:Getty Images via hoh.rollcall.com

(Image: JewelSamad/AFP/GettyImages via hoh.RollCall.com)

More…

And then the bored-out-of-his-mind moron who thinks this is important news goes on to show a photo of Yellen in the same outfit today when she appeared on Capitol Hill for her confirmation hearing.

Imagine someone saying the same thing about a guy wearing the same suit during two appearances a month apart.  It would never happen.

If this isn’t clear evidence that the “liberal media” will pick at anything, ANYTHING, having to do with the Obama administration, I don’t know what is.

Not only that, Yellen is arguably going to be one of the most powerful people on the planet if she’s confirmed.  Is nitpicking about her clothes what immediately comes to mind here?  Really?

Yes America.  You’re being dumbed down big time.

November 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM Leave a comment

Update on the Death of Michael Hastings

Regular readers of this site know that in life, the fearless journalist’s journalist Michael Hastings was one of my heroes and that his death left me wondering if he might have been murdered.  To that end, I’ve attempted to keep up with any new information on Michael’s last days and on the high-speed car crash that killed him.  On Tuesday, Ray Sawhill over at Salon published an article/interview with Michael’s brother, Jonathan.

Michael Hastings image via Fair.org

(Image via Fair.org)

It sounds like Michael was dealing with some nasty, nasty demons:

Michael Hastings’ Life and Death:  A Brother’s Reflections

As I told the police out in L.A., a few days before he died, Mike called me and I got the impression that he was having a manic episode, similar to one he had had 15 years ago, which he had referred to in his writing. At that time, drugs had been involved, and I suspected that might be the case again. I immediately booked a flight to L.A. for the next day, with the thought that maybe I could convince him to come back to Vermont to dry out or (less likely) get him to go to detox/rehab there in L.A. When I got to L.A. and saw him, I immediately realized that he was not going to go willingly. I started to make arrangements with our other brother to fly out and help me possibly force Mike into checking himself into a hospital or detox center. I’d thought that I had at least convinced Mike to just stay in his apartment and chill out for the next few days, but he snuck out on me when I was sleeping. He crashed his car before anyone could do anything to help him.

[...]

I really rule out foul play entirely. I might have been suspicious if I hadn’t been with him the day before he died. After all, he definitely was investigating and writing about a lot of sensitive subjects. But based on being with him and talking to people who were worried about him in the weeks leading up to his death, and being around him when he had had similar problems when he was younger, I was pretty much convinced that he wasn’t in danger from any outside agency.

More…

So, there’s that.  Another piece of the puzzle.

November 9, 2013 at 12:02 PM Leave a comment

About the Media’s Lazy Obsession With the Weekly “Jobs Report”

Love this tweet from In These Times‘ labor reporter Mike Elk.

Tweet of the Day 11-8-13You tell ‘em Mike!

November 8, 2013 at 9:11 AM Leave a comment

Is Japan’s PM Trying to Hide Massive Corruption Surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster?

Last week, the head of the NSA, Keith Alexander said the government of the United States has to figure out a way to stop journalists from reporting on leaks from Edward Snowden.

Yesterday British Prime Minister David Cameron said he thought it might be wise for his government to crack down on what newspapers in the UK are allowed to publish (i.e., as in the U.S., that would be things that are embarrassing to the government).

Now we have Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formulating a “state secrets act” that would “curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues.”  And again, what Abe hopes to keep from the public is information about potentially embarrassing (and possibly illegal) acts surrounding issues like the Fukushima nuclear disaster that I would submit, the world — not just the Japanese — needs to know about:

Stop Freedom of the Press via Wikimedia commons org

Thomas Jefferson (Image via WikimediaCommons.org)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

[...]

Critics see parallels between the new law and Abe’s drive to revise Japan’s U.S.-drafted, post-war constitution to stress citizen’s duties over civil rights, part of a conservative agenda that includes a stronger military and recasting Japan’s wartime history with a less apologetic tone.

“There is a demand by the established political forces for greater control over the people,” said Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University. “This fits with the notion that the state should have broad authority to act in secret.”

“Basically, this bill raises the possibility that the kind of information about which the public should be informed is kept secret eternally,” Tadaaki Muto, a lawyer and member of a task force on the bill at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, told Reuters.

“Under the bill, the administrative branch can set the range of information that is kept secret at its own discretion.”

Media watchdogs fear the law would seriously hobble journalists’ ability to investigate official misdeeds and blunders, including the collusion between regulators and utilities that led to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A probe by an independent parliamentary panel found that collusion between regulators and the nuclear power industry was a key factor in the failure to prevent the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (Tepco) tsunami-hit Fukushima plant in March 2011, and the government and the utility remain the focus of criticism for their handling of the on-going crisis.

Tepco has often been accused of concealing information about the crisis and many details have first emerged in the press. In July, Tepco finally admitted to massive leaks of radiation-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean after months of media reports and denials by the utility.

“This may very well be Abe’s true intention – cover-up of mistaken state actions regarding the Fukushima disaster and/or the necessity of nuclear power,” said Sophia University political science professor Koichi Nakano.

More…

So, there seems to be a new worldwide push by the powers that be to limit what We the People know because the things they want to keep from us would probably infuriate us.

Oh, and here’s an urgent plea from NukeFree.org:

We are in desperate need of documentary filmmakers at Fukushima.

The Japanese government is about to pass a national censorship law clearly meant to make it impossible to know what’s going on there.

Massive quantities of radioactive water have been flowing through the site since the 3/11/11 earthquake/tsunami.

At thousand flimsy tanks hold still more thousands of tons of radioactive water which would pour into the Pacific should they collapse.

An earthquake and two typhoons have have just hit there, flushing still more radioactive water into the sea.

The corrupt and incompetent Tokyo Electric Power Company will soon try moving 400 tons of supremely radioactive rods from a damaged Unit Four fuel pool, an operation that could easily end in global catastrophe. The rods contain 14,000 times as much radioactive cesium as was released at the bombing of Hiroshima.

Nobody knows the exact location of the melted cores from Units One, Two and Three or whether they are still fissioning.

Reuters and others report criminal involvement, slashed wages, inhuman working conditions, serious shortages and lack of training in what has become an extremely dangerous labor crisis.

Intensely radioactive hotspots have turned up throughout Japan, including some that threaten human life in Tokyo and make cast a pall on the upcoming Olympics.

At least one report indicates a massive dead zone in the Pacific apparently caused by radiation pouring in from the site. Tuna contaminated with radiation from Fukushima have been caught off the California coast, and there are widespread reports other marine life disappearing throughout the Pacific.

With the information flow from Fukushima apparently about to go dark, the presence of independent media and researchers has become more critical than ever.

More…

Scary stuff.

 

 

October 29, 2013 at 12:44 PM Leave a comment

When Was the Last Time You Saw Liberals Blanket the Sunday Shows?

I’m so old I remember when the cable “news” networks said they were giving Republicans more coverage than Democrats because Republicans were in office.

Democrats have been in office for five years.

Oops.

Fool me once, shame one me. Fool me twice, you’re a lying SOB:

Tweet of the Day 9-23-13Not only that, John McCain has been on the Sunday shows something like 30 times this year.

Love how the righties scream about the “liberal media.”

I wish.

 

September 23, 2013 at 8:14 PM 1 comment

Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

From Politico:

FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge has sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a trove of military and diplomatic secrets to the website WikiLeaks.

More…

And, my Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 8-21-13

August 21, 2013 at 9:34 AM 1 comment

Get Ready For Two Years of Trump-Might-Run Coverage Even Though Everyone Knows He Won’t

It would be one thing if “E! News” did this but when the supposed “real” news outlets do it it’s pretty disgusting.  In short, get ready to get played:

Donald Trump's Hair

Here we go again.

More than three years ahead of the 2016 election, Donald Trump is already hinting at a presidential run, and the media — though certain this time around that he can’t be serious — are covering it anyway.

Dubbed a “sideshow” by NBC’s Chuck Todd and a “serial presidential campaign explorer” by CBS News, Trump is being accused by the press of engaging in yet another publicity stunt. “Folks,” the NBC News political team flatly declared this week, “he isn’t going to run.”

But don’t for one second think that means an end to Trump coverage. And lots of it.

Even as reporters suggest that Trump should not be taken seriously, many media organizations continue to cover him as a potential legitimate candidate, as they did in 2012. The reason for that is something Trump, the executive producer and host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” is very familiar with: ratings.

[...]
“How many times do people have to fall for this game?” asked Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant. “Everyone knows this, and no one seems to be able to resist covering the spectacle, because Donald Trump – the brand – isn’t ever forced to post up against political reality. He’s a master marketer and brand-manager, and he’s learned that the media loves the bluster and the bullshit, even with the full knowledge he’s not going to ever, ever, ever pull the trigger on the race.”
More…

August 14, 2013 at 9:46 AM Leave a comment

About Republicans Complaining About Obama Taking a Vacation

So, President Obama and his family are officially on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard right now (I’m so jealous) and — natch — Republicans are having a hissy fit, which is as predictable as the sun rising in the east.  There’s just so much to do, how can he justify it, they whine.

But did you know that the House is on a five week vacation right now too?  And did you know that the Speaker of the House — that would be Republican John Boehner — sets the House’s schedule?

The hypocrisy here is just mindblowingly brazen.  I guess they (rightly) count on the media being complicit in their little game and not calling them on it.

That said, here’s my Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 8-11-13

Got that?  The House will work less than 140 days this year, thanks to Boehner who’d rather smoke, drink and play golf than govern.  And they have the balls to criticize Obama for taking a freakin’ eight day vacation.  It’s really something to behold.

 

 

August 11, 2013 at 4:41 PM 1 comment

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